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http://www.bangkokpost.com/breakingnews/174518/democrat-party-faces-dissolution

Bangkok Post - the idea of those red monkeys cheering and jeering sickens me.

The Election Commission on Monday decided with a vote of 4-1 to dissolve the ruling Democrat Party in connection with the 258 million baht donation case and the alleged misuse of a 29 million baht political development fund provided by the EC.

The decision was made in a special meeting of the EC, chaired by Apichart Sukhagganond, who presented his proposal to the commission for consideration. It was Sodsri Sattayatham, a commissioner, who revealed earlier the meeting would be held today.

In December last year, the EC resolved for Mr Apichart, as the political party registrar, to decide whether to propose the dissolution of the Democrat Party.

The decision dealt a severe blow on the Democrat Party, whose leader and Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has been under pressure from the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) to immediately dissolve the House of Representatives to make way for a new election.

The red shirts at the Ratchaprasong intersection, roared with joy on hearing the news from their leader Veera Musikhapong, who said he hoped the case would be proceeded quickly.

Thousands of UDD's red shirts on April 5 converged on the EC headquarters on Chaeng Wattana road and accused the commission of the dragging the case against the Democrat Party. Bowing to the UDD's demand, the EC said it would come up with a decision by April 20.

After today's decision, the EC will forward its decision to the Office of the Attorney General. The OAG will then has 30 days to decide the case. If the OAG's decision contradicts that of the EC, a joint committee would be set up to consider the case. If the OAG agrees with the EC, it will refer the case to the Constitution Court for a final decision.

The Democrat Party has been accused of receiving more than 258 million baht in illegal donations from TPI Polene for use in the 2005 general election without declaring it. The party was also accused of misusing the Politics Development Fund worth 29 million baht.

TPI Polene, a cement firm, was alleged to have made donations totalling 258 million baht to the Democrats through Messiah Business and Creation Co, an advertising company.

The party faces dissolution and its executives could be banned from politics for five years if it is found guilty by the Constitution Court of illegally receiving the donation.

Can't ONE f*cking person keep his fingers out of the f*cking cookie jar?

The Democrat spokesman said he's confident they can win the case in court. As several of the top guys, including Chuan, are lawyers, they probably have a good grasp on whether or not they actually violated the law.

The question then becomes, will politics intrude on the court's decision.

In this atmosphere ...

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So was the decision flawed...? Is this "body" not independent? If they were flawed on this decision, was it a bad decision to ban the other political parties? Is it a good idea to ban entire political parties and ALL top executives for the actions of a few? Is that section of the new constitution just?

Which decision? The decision to dissolve? Or the decision to (try to) remove the Reds?

Dissolve? Yes - it's a bad decision. It means a group of armed men can hold the capital to ransom, kill people and destroy property and STILL walk away with their goals achieved.

To attack Reds? No - it was a good decision... but terrible implementation.

We'll see what happens in court. If the party is dissolved, no-one will get punished for their terrorism (and that's exactly what it was), and another group of shirts will amass. If the party ISN'T dissolved, the Reds will come back angrier than ever.

And the scumbag leaders who created this mess will get their disgusting snouts back in the trough and start scoffing.... oh and the Isaan poor will be in exactly the same position they are in now - let's see how nutritious righteousness is.

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Thaivisa Forum member (UNCONFIRMED):

"A comment on UDD Thailand on Facebook is saying that ASTV have announced that the PAD will be rallying on the streets on 18th April (Sunday).

If that turns out to be true, then it could just be the start of something even messier. "

****

If this happens there could be HUGE blood shed, with the Reds now thinking that they own the streets and roads.

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Thaivisa Forum member (UNCONFIRMED):

"A comment on UDD Thailand on Facebook is saying that ASTV have announced that the PAD will be rallying on the streets on 18th April (Sunday).

If that turns out to be true, then it could just be the start of something even messier. "

****

If this happens there could be HUGE blood shed, with the Reds now thinking that they own the streets and roads.

Let me just ical that... 18th, Start of Thai civil war :shock:

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http://www.bangkokpost.com/breakingnews/174518/democrat-party-faces-dissolution

Bangkok Post - the idea of those red monkeys cheering and jeering sickens me.

The Election Commission on Monday decided with a vote of 4-1 to dissolve the ruling Democrat Party in connection with the 258 million baht donation case and the alleged misuse of a 29 million baht political development fund provided by the EC.

The decision was made in a special meeting of the EC, chaired by Apichart Sukhagganond, who presented his proposal to the commission for consideration. It was Sodsri Sattayatham, a commissioner, who revealed earlier the meeting would be held today.

In December last year, the EC resolved for Mr Apichart, as the political party registrar, to decide whether to propose the dissolution of the Democrat Party.

The decision dealt a severe blow on the Democrat Party, whose leader and Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has been under pressure from the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) to immediately dissolve the House of Representatives to make way for a new election.

The red shirts at the Ratchaprasong intersection, roared with joy on hearing the news from their leader Veera Musikhapong, who said he hoped the case would be proceeded quickly.

Thousands of UDD's red shirts on April 5 converged on the EC headquarters on Chaeng Wattana road and accused the commission of the dragging the case against the Democrat Party. Bowing to the UDD's demand, the EC said it would come up with a decision by April 20.

After today's decision, the EC will forward its decision to the Office of the Attorney General. The OAG will then has 30 days to decide the case. If the OAG's decision contradicts that of the EC, a joint committee would be set up to consider the case. If the OAG agrees with the EC, it will refer the case to the Constitution Court for a final decision.

The Democrat Party has been accused of receiving more than 258 million baht in illegal donations from TPI Polene for use in the 2005 general election without declaring it. The party was also accused of misusing the Politics Development Fund worth 29 million baht.

TPI Polene, a cement firm, was alleged to have made donations totalling 258 million baht to the Democrats through Messiah Business and Creation Co, an advertising company.

The party faces dissolution and its executives could be banned from politics for five years if it is found guilty by the Constitution Court of illegally receiving the donation.

Can't ONE f*cking person keep his fingers out of the f*cking cookie jar?

I actually knew about this - has been mulling over it for a few weeks, on whether to write something about it, until the latest event.

In any event, glad it is out now.

There is also another scandal regarding corruption in the Abhisit administration.

That is the Thai Khem Khaeng economic stimulus program where the Balu's committee (investigative committee set up to investigate allegation of corruptions) found:

- The former secretary to the Public Health Minister had met with a supplier of ambulances to receive 80 million baht in bribes

- The purchase of UV fans at a price 10-20x higher than cost

- Massive overconstruction of buildings exceeding need (60% of the Ministry's stimulus budget was construction)

- Numerous cases of inflated prices for machines and equipment.

This may sound like an anti-Abhisit thing, but it is not my intention - just wanted to show the other side can do just as bad.

I have always contended that all sides are corrupt - I mean have you ever seen a thai politician who is not a multi-millionaire, drives expensive cars, live in big houses and dine in expensive restaurants?!?

What I really don't understand is why either red or yellow supporters are wasting their time, fighting and dying for these corrupt politicians?!?

Isn't it about time thais put their politician, police and generals under the same microscope???

I was last in Thailand about a month ago and I had two conversations regarding this very issue - one was with a Thai businessman and another was with a vice president of a multi-national company.

The Thai businessman alleged that his company was paying 70k bahts a month to his new politcal masters - the same amount he was paying to the old masters..

And the VP of the multi-national company alleged that his company was asked to inflate the prices of their contracts by 30%, to ensure that his company would win the bidding (the 30% being the amount channeled back to the corrupt politician and officials to share).

Of course, I have no way to verify the bona fide of these conversations, hence the word "alleged", but if you match that to what happened in the above scandal and other scandals, you can see the pattern for yourself.

IMHO, things haven't changed that much since Mr Thaksin.

At the end of the day, they are all in it for themselves.

It is about time thais, both of Red and Yellow supporters realises that - you should be hating your politcal masters, not each other.

Just my 2 bahts worth.

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^@ beej. So much for those who mistakenly believed that the army going in on sat and resultant outcome would send the reds running home when the opposite was always going to be the case! :roll:

The complex assasination of one man would put a stop to all of this. The money would stop flowing, and the violence would be over. There are quite a few people that think this is the only way to get Thailand back as one nation.

I'd rather see him die a failure than a martyr.

We all want to see Thaksin fade away.....but I couldn't think of anything worse than an assasination or a death which appears unnatural.

We already have a country slowly tearing itself apart. Kill Thaksin and we would be guaranteed of bloodshed and violence on a scale which would surpass anything seen in the last 40 years. It would be most stupid thing to do. Beej is right dont make a martyr of the guy,

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Yes it was right to try to restore law and order.

However, the operation was mishandled.

Their intelligence was flawed. They didn't know the Red Shirts had grenades and automatic weapons.

Mate, we have disagreed on how this should be handled from day one. However, I completely surprised that someone as knowledgeable as you mate would make such a naive statement.

ISOC and the armed forces have known all along that the hard core reds and elements of Seh Daengs group would use weapons and lethal force once force was used against them. There are public statements the govt and army expressing concern of such in the past. Given all the grenade attacks that have been conducted in BKK these last months and previous violence by the reds, are you really saying that no one had intel that a crackdown by security forces would not result in grenades and guns being used by elements supportive of the reds?!

Elements in the army have training and 'quality' issues as we have commented BUT the army is not that stupid! If there is one thing they do fairly well along with ISOC, it is intell. Almost all of us commenting here, including you, has previously predicted that the reds would use weapons if there was a crackdown. How is it that the army could not predict this but we all could?

Mate, I find that a breathtakingly silly notion, (on the NoreasonsMan level), that only serves to excuse a major operational flaw which occured on Sat - that being to give the reds 3 hours to surge in numbers at Phan Fa and prepare themselves for an assault once the momentum had been lost at Makhwan bridge after 4pm. This allowed those elements with weapons time to arrive. Once the army withdrew and waited while calling into extra untis, the red numbers grew 10 fold. The operation should have been called off as there were clear foreseeable risks, not prepostioning troops at 7pm to try to squeeze a much larger crowd who were now preapred. You have lost momentum earlier, numerical advantage and the advantage of surprise. Try another day, if at all.

Whoever was in operational command and gave the order to proceed putting soldiers and civilians lives at risk has a lot of difficult questions ot answer at a later date.

It was a disaster that should have been avoided. Thailands worst day of loss of life and injuries in BKK at a public protest for decades. Huge economic losses will not be incurred greater than a bunch of elite shopping centers being closed weeks. The army lost face badly, the govt has been on the backfoot since sat night, the reds have momentum and are acting more arrogantly , they have their martyrs and the political situation is more polarised than last week.

Yet you want to try it again? Seriously?!!!

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I don't think I posted that it should be tried again (although my testosterone and ego say 'kill'), I said it was right to try, but badly implemented.

While there were grenade attacks previously, they were not aimed at personnel - no-one anticipated Seh Daeng's men would be that numerous, ruthless and cavalier about tossing high explosives at essentially unarmed men.

I would hate to be making these decisions - Christ, I just took 10 minutes to decide what to eat in Charley Brown's! But Abhisit had to act. Had to. It is his job to uphold law and order. Had the operation been successful - Red Shirts out and minimal casualties - he would have been a ******* hero.

Can you imagine the pressure from businesses demanding the city be returned to the people and away from a band of thugs? And they were right to demand it - The Red camp is in the wrong - no doubt about it.

All other options had been exhausted.

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Drove all the way to Bangkok today, just one wrong turn and I found myself at the center of demonstration...Democracy Monoment, Nangloeng, and Parinayok temple surrounded by red shirts. They were not furious and ferocious as I thought they would be. In fact, I asked one of them how to get to my hotel :wink:

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Democrat Party faces dissolution from Bkk Post

* Published: 12/04/2010 at 07:10 PM

* Online news: Local News

The Election Commission on Monday decided by a vote of 4-1 to recommend the dissolution of the ruling Democrat Party for receiving an illegal 258 million baht donation case and the alleged misuse of a 29 million baht political development fund provided by the EC.

To see all stories about Democrat party dissolution case: click here.

The decision was made at a special meeting of the EC chaired by Apichart Sukhagganond.

Mr Apichart, who is ex officio political party registrar, presented his recommendation to the commission for consideration.

Commissioner Sodsri Sattayatham revealed earlier the crucial meeting would be held today.

In December last year, the EC resolved that Mr Apichart, as the political party registrar, should decide whether to propose the dissolution of the Democrat Party to the Constitution Court.

Today's decision dealt a severe blow on the Democrat Party, whose leader and Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva is under relenting pressure from the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) to immediately dissolve the House of Representatives and call a general election.

The red-shirts at the Ratchaprasong intersection roared with joy on hearing the news from leader Veera Musikhapong, who said he hoped the case would proceed quickly.

Thousands of UDD's red shirts on April 5 converged on the EC headquarters on Chaeng Wattana road and accused the commission of the dragging out a decision in the case against the Democrat Party.

Bowing to the UDD's demand, the EC said it would come up with a decision by April 20.

The EC will forward its decision to the Office of the Attorney-General. The OAG then has 30 days to review the case.

If the OAG's decision contradicts the EC's ruling, a joint committee would be set up to consider the case. If the OAG agrees with the EC, it will refer the case to the Constitution Court for a final decision.

The Democrat Party, Thailand's oldest political party, was accused of receiving more than 258 million baht in illegal donations from TPI Polene for use in the 2005 general election and not declaring it. The party was also accused of misusing the Politics Development Fund worth 29 million baht.

The current and previous constitutions limit individual donations to 10 million baht a year.

TPI Polene, a cement firm, was alleged to have made donations totalling 258 million baht to the Democrats through Messiah Business and Creation Co, an advertising company.

The Democrat Party faces possible dissolution and its executives could be banned from politics for five years if the Constution Court upholds the Election Commission's finding.

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Thaivisa Forum member (UNCONFIRMED):

"A comment on UDD Thailand on Facebook is saying that ASTV have announced that the PAD will be rallying on the streets on 18th April (Sunday).

If that turns out to be true, then it could just be the start of something even mess

I watch ASTV, no one say something like that... not the concept for them right now.

Just stay and watch.

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Their intelligence was flawed. They didn't know the Red Shirts had grenades and automatic weapons.

Well, I am really not sure if it was the reds having weapons (except of those seized from soldiers). Somehow I suspect that there is a "third hand" in the game trying to put oil into the fire. No proof for that but the differrent reports I heard from different sources (among those one guy having been present at Khaosan Road during the events) gave me this idea. Question would be who would be behind this "shadow force" and what his/their aims would be.

But there is one thing: The army completely failed in CRC (crowd and riot control). This I already saw on TV as they did not close their ranks but running around in small groups or even individuals, thus getting very vulnerable and ineffective. And when I heard that the reds seized weapons and even soldiers, I could not stop shaking my head!

Really? You don't know who it is? You must be the only one - it is Seh Daeng. He organised his own private army, armed them, aligned them with the Red Shirts and then bragged that the army had lost against the Red Shirts because his men were fighting alongside them.

Sorry EB, but here I'm afraid you are a bit one-sided. I got first hand info from a good friend of mine who has experience in war zones as well as in a country of genocide. And if he tells me a story about violence, I can trust him. He was at Kaosan Road during the riots and according to him the Reds did not have fire arms at all. Also, on several TV stations like ASTV (to my knowledge not known for their support for the Reds) you could see several times the scene where firearms were discharged from balconies around the place (I don't know if this also was in Kaosan area). I would not be surprised if those escalating the situation also are Thaksin guys but as to my information, they do not seem affiliated to the Reds you see on the streetsand also not to be "disguised" as Reds.

The army failed because they were unprepared for war weapons... closing ranks isn't much use against hand grenades, M16s and AK47s.

Sorry, that's completely wrong! What I saw on TV was a disaster! Well, CRC genuinely is not an army thing but rather for police, so the army most probably was neither well instructed nor trained for this situation. But running around in small groups, sometimes even individually, is not state of the art of CRC! And this was, as the TV showed, not under gunfire but more intended to disperse the crowd. How else could the Reds have seized army weapons and even kidnapped soldiers? I have seen CRC in Kosovo, and there it worked very well!

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Pressure is mounting on Thailand's Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, days after 21 people died in clashes between troops and anti-government protesters.

The army chief says parliament should be dissolved, and election officials have recommended Mr Abhisit's party be disbanded over illegal donations.

(on BBC site just now)

Any news on these statements at the Thai end?

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Their intelligence was flawed. They didn't know the Red Shirts had grenades and automatic weapons.

Well, I am really not sure if it was the reds having weapons (except of those seized from soldiers). Somehow I suspect that there is a "third hand" in the game trying to put oil into the fire. No proof for that but the differrent reports I heard from different sources (among those one guy having been present at Khaosan Road during the events) gave me this idea. Question would be who would be behind this "shadow force" and what his/their aims would be.

But there is one thing: The army completely failed in CRC (crowd and riot control). This I already saw on TV as they did not close their ranks but running around in small groups or even individuals, thus getting very vulnerable and ineffective. And when I heard that the reds seized weapons and even soldiers, I could not stop shaking my head!

Really? You don't know who it is? You must be the only one - it is Seh Daeng. He organised his own private army, armed them, aligned them with the Red Shirts and then bragged that the army had lost against the Red Shirts because his men were fighting alongside them.

Sorry EB, but here I'm afraid you are a bit one-sided. I got first hand info from a good friend of mine who has experience in war zones as well as in a country of genocide. And if he tells me a story about violence, I can trust him. He was at Kaosan Road during the riots and according to him the Reds did not have fire arms at all. Also, on several TV stations like ASTV (to my knowledge not known for their support for the Reds) you could see several times the scene where firearms were discharged from balconies around the place (I don't know if this also was in Kaosan area). I would not be surprised if those escalating the situation also are Thaksin guys but as to my information, they do not seem affiliated to the Reds you see on the streetsand also not to be "disguised" as Reds.

The army failed because they were unprepared for war weapons... closing ranks isn't much use against hand grenades, M16s and AK47s.

Sorry, that's completely wrong! What I saw on TV was a disaster! Well, CRC genuinely is not an army thing but rather for police, so the army most probably was neither well instructed nor trained for this situation. But running around in small groups, sometimes even individually, is not state of the art of CRC! And this was, as the TV showed, not under gunfire but more intended to disperse the crowd. How else could the Reds have seized army weapons and even kidnapped soldiers? I have seen CRC in Kosovo, and there it worked very well!

It's not wrong - soldiers were shot and I saw Red shirts with guns. Ergo Red Shirts had guns.

I also saw video footage of grenades exploding in the soldiers' ranks. The grenades were non army issue. Now it's clear the Reds wanted confrontation - see my pictures and recent reports - there were hard-core die hard Reds desperate to see blood on the streets. There were very upset when the army DIDN'T crack down as that eroded their legitimacy.

When the pressure got too much and the Red leaders went too far, Abhisit ordered in the troops - Red Shirts wanted a war - and they got it.

Whether or not the army did a good job of the dispersal of the crowd - which really is not in question, they f**ked it up - is not the issue. The Red Shirts demonstration was illegal. They had many many warnings of a clampdown. The security forces had been VERY tolerant until this point.

The advanced on the Red Shirts and from every footage I've seen were not firing directly at the Red Shirts.... UNTIL grenades and live rounds were fired at them.

After that, who knows what happened?

If the Reds had dispersed or had not instigated violence, nobody would be dead.

(Personally, I think there are about 2-3000 Red Shirts who need to know what a bullet feels like - these are thugs and scum, who have held Bangkok ransom with their bullying for more than a month - let them feel the fear for a change).

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From Nation

When blood got into the eyes of the opposing sides, common sense just flew out the window. It will take at least one to two weeks for emotions to cool off before the political battle can shift from the streets toward its proper arena - a ballot box.

It is also ironic and deplorable that past political tragedies did not serve as a lesson to avoid more bloodshed but may have hardened their determination to defeat one another. Instead of respecting the sanctity of life, key figures on the opposing sides plotted to splatter blood into hands of their rivals.

In the Black May incident, Palang Dharma Party leader Chamlong Srimuang led street protests to bring about the downfall of the then prime minister Suchinda Kraprayoon. Despite his personal victory, Chamlong's party suffered a shattering defeat in the 1992 general election and he eventually faded out of mainstream politics. He failed to overcome the stigma of leading people to their deaths.

The Pheu Thai Party, and its puppet master Thaksin Shinawatra, made elaborate preparations to avoid Chamlong's mistake. The red shirts are being led by people who harbour no hopes of becoming a prime ministerial candidate or a main force in politics.

Thaksin recruited Chavalit Yongchaiyudh as Pheu Thai chairman. Chavalit's open mission is to prepare for the upcoming elections. Red-shirt leader Adisorn Piengket admitted, however, Chavait was actually Thaksin's commander to wage the "last battle" to bring about political change.

What happened on Rajdamnoen Avenue on Saturday was not a botched anti-riot operation nor a lynching mob gone berserk. It was a head-on skirmish between two well-trained armed forces - one in fatigues and another in black. The red shirts were just props in the battlefield.

Like past tragedies, parties involved might try to sweep everything under the rug by blaming "a third hand" or terrorists or unidentified elements. But a tactical retreat to attack riot forces from behind was not something the mob could do on the spur of the moment.

Riot gear, such as tear gas, shields and batons, is designed to rein in unruly crowds but not to repel live ammunition. The death of Colonel Romklao "Pao" Thuwatham of the 2nd Infantry Division, is expected to reverberate through the Army ranks.

It is a century-old tradition that graduates from Chula-chomklao Royal Military Academy come from the same feeding bowl, and hence will not kill their own kind under any circumstances. In the failed coup of 1977, General Chalard Hiransiri broke the sacred code by fatally shooting General Arun Thawathasin. Chalard was subsequently executed by a firing squad.

Chavalit and top generals backing the red shirts should know that Army commanders will not allow Romklao to die in vain. Justice must be served one way or another.

In coming days, the government and the red shirts are expected to exchange barbs on the bloodbath. Autopsy reports on the victims will be highly politicised. The Pheu Thai Party candidates cannot afford to join the election with blood on their hands. Thaksin's best-laid plan will backfire if the main opposition party is mired by such tragic incidents.

A deal will not be struck unless the opposing sides can ascertain a strong chance to win at the polls. Then and only then will the red shirts disperse.

Don't kid yourself if you think a snap election will usher a fresh start. The Democrats and the Pheu Thai Party are expected to fight an election war of titanic proportions. The outcome is unlikely to end the polarisation, such that the next prime minister may well come from one of the smaller parties.

I can't see an end to any differences, while Thai men refuse to move on and accept defeat.... which I guess means never.

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Interesting analysis;

Are cracks emerging in Thailand's military?

When a prime minister needs to hold a special TV broadcast to assure watchers that his government is united and in control, it is often the opposite message that is conveyed.

Far from celebrating Songkran, the Thai New Year, Thailand's top generals and politicians are locked in dissension - trying to explain the failure and high cost of Saturday's crackdown on the red-shirted opposition, and trying to work out what should happen next.

The relatively dove-like commander-in-chief of the armed forces, Gen Anupong Paojinda, seemed in no doubt.

"The best solution of this is to dissolve the House. I don't want to intervene in politics but I guess the end will be a House dissolution.

"Political problems must be solved by political means. House dissolution is a solution but that must be done after a clear time-frame is set."

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, by contrast, insisted his government, the army, the police and his coalition partners were united and doing "good co-operative work".

He said his government was investigating the causes of the killings on Saturday night - the latest toll is 21 dead and almost 900 people injured.

He also put forward the idea that among the peaceful demonstrations was a hard core of "terrorists" who had to be distinguished from the "innocents".

Badly planned

That idea - of a mysterious "third hand" - usually accuses a wayward major general of provoking violence through unexplained grenade tossings or shootings.

Certainly various military figures - and soldiers interviewed as they recovered in hospital - say they were unprepared for an armed force among the protesters.

The military analyst, Wassana Nanuam, writing in the Bangkok Post, quoted unnamed colonels as saying the crackdown had been badly planned, badly timed and put tired soldiers at the mercy of protesters.

Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban said he had issued orders for soldiers to be equipped only with shields, batons and tear gas.

"They were unarmed, so some of them were killed," he said.

This conflicts with reports from a BBC correspondent on the scene who saw soldiers carrying and shooting high velocity guns.

Behind the propaganda war lies the larger issue of the military's distress about where it now finds itself.

"There are some divisions in the armed forces," said Prof Surachart Bumrungsuk, a military and politics expert at Bangkok's Chulalongkorn University.

"Some units don't want to be involved in such a crackdown, others wanted it to be more assertive.

"It is no secret that General Prayuth Chan-ocha would have liked a harder crackdown," he said.

Gen Prayuth is the deputy armed forces commander and supposedly in line to take the top army job after Gen Anupong's retirement in September.

That transition could be derailed if a military-friendly government is no longer in place to oversee it.

"Gen Anupong has kept a relatively low profile since the 2006 coup and steered clear of the crackdown by his subordinates against the pro-reds governments in 2008," notes Prof Thitinan Pongsudhirak, a visiting scholar at Stanford University's Centre on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law.

"In April 2009 during the reds' uprising, he was nominally in charge but Gen Prayuth appeared effectively in command of dispersing the red protesters.

"Gen Anupong's conciliatory words this time are thus unsurprising. He understandably wants a soft landing after his mandatory retirement on 30 September," he said.

By contrast, Gen Prayuth and the "tiger soldiers", otherwise known as the "eastern tigers" - the 2nd, 12th and the 21st infantry divisions - are seen as more hardline.

"Dissension in the army stems from resentment against these privileged soldiers whose career mobility is more promising. It would be unsurprising if other army units would oppose Gen Prayuth's hard-line approach," believes Prof Thitinan.

There is also a new concern within the military, not of division at the top but of a divorce between the top brass and the ordinary soldiers.

"The fear on Friday was that they might lose control of the rank and file. That was new, and very, very frightening [and contributed to] the stupid, chaotic blood-letting on Saturday," says political analyst Chris Baker.

Limited options

Where this leaves Mr Abhisit remains the question as Thailand heads into Songkran, normally a week of water-throwing street parties.

Many analysts believe he is running out of options.

"If he persists in his smug defiance, more violence and mayhem can be expected," said Prof Thitinan.

"His best bet is to set up an expeditious election timetable and bow out, perhaps followed by a sojourn abroad for rehabilitation."

Certainly the deep divisions in Thai society - the military included - are not going away.

"Saturday night made it clear that there are elements within the military providing the opposition with tactical information and that on the other side of the divide there are elements with good military training and equipment," says Anthony Davis, an analyst with Janes Defence Weekly.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/8615910.stm

A situation where the Military may initiate or support a coup is worrying enough, but if there do exist the schisms within the military discussed above, then there must be a very real threat that things could turn very very nasty.

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Interesting analysis;

The relatively dove-like commander-in-chief of the armed forces, Gen Anupong Paojinda, seemed in no doubt.

"The best solution of this is to dissolve the House. I don't want to intervene in politics but I guess the end will be a House dissolution.

"Political problems must be solved by political means. House dissolution is a solution but that must be done after a clear time-frame is set."

He s at age about to retire ....as politics way ….whatever happens it’s me named as commander-in-chief of the armed forces …he he he he you think?

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(Personally, I think there are about 2-3000 Red Shirts who need to know what a bullet feels like - these are thugs and scum, who have held Bangkok ransom with their bullying for more than a month - let them feel the fear for a change).

geezz Dave is that your measre for a death sentence?????????? a month of bullying?

Scum and thugs many maybe, but sorting them out is the devil in it[/b

holding cities into a partial shutdown for an extended period of time is far from unheard of... in my country it happened in Alabamain the 60's; King did it on the march on Washingon in '63 ( "I have a dream"); students did it again in '68 in Chicago and in 70-71 again in DC VN war demonstrations....

....and am not doubting that serious punishment is deserved in many cases. but so is hard work and intergerty....

And I do respect your attendance at the Peace gatherings...keep that up! :)

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